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Rift within NDA out in the open, Kushwaha accuses Nitish of ‘poaching’ MLAs

New Delhi : All does not seem well within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar. In the latest display of rift within the ruling alliance, Union minister and Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) supremo Upendra Kushwaha has accused Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal United (JDU) chief Nitish Kumar of making attempts to poach MLAs.

Levelling allegations of “destroying” the RLSP, Kushwaha said, “Nitish Kumar ji has been trying to poach MLAs. He has come down to destroying Upendra Kushwaha and his party, but he cannot cause any damage to me. He is a part of the NDA and so are we, he should not do such things.”

 

The RLSP chief made the remark after a meeting with Loktantrik Janata Dal and former NDA convenor Sharad Yadav in the national capital on Monday. Taking to microblogging site Twitter, Kushwaha described the meeting as a “courtesy call”. RLSP sources told news agency PTI that the two leaders discussed the current political situation in Bihar.

This comes just days after reports suggested that Kushwaha as well as Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan, another ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have not agreed with the seat sharing deal between the two major NDA constituents – the BJP and the JDU.

According to a report in news agency PTI, Kushwaha and Paswan have demanded that they should be given as many seats as they fought on during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, which adds up to 10. Notably, the BJP and the JDU have declared that they would contest on 16 seats each in Bihar during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which leaves a total of eight seats to be distributed among other NDA constituents.

Speculations had also been rife over Kushwaha inclining towards the Mahagathbandhan, comprising the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, among other smaller parties.

The speculations had been triggered following a meeting between Kushwaha and leader of opposition in Bihar Assembly, Tejashwi Yadav, who has been at the helm of RJD affairs since party supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav’s conviction in fodder scam cases.

Suggesting that political discussions took place during the meeting, former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi had told mediapersons that “meetings are always positive”.

Kushwaha had, however, told news agency ANI that the meeting with the Yadav scion was a “coincidence”. The RLSP chief had also said that nothing was final within the NDA over seat sharing for 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“Nothing is final on seat sharing. Amit Shah ji also said that we will finalise it in a few days. Meeting with Tejashwi Yadav was just a coincidence,” Kushwaha had said.